2/17/17 – JOTF Weekly Update: Signature Priorities Taking Shape
JOTF Policy Update – February 17, 2015
Committee hears reentry legislation
Thursday, Feb. 19 — 1 p.m. — Judicial Proceeding Committee — Annapolis
This week the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee will consider several key pieces of legislation dedicated to reducing employment barriers for Marylanders with criminal records.
Bills heard by the committee will include the following JOTF priorities:
SB 526 – Maryland Second Chance Act of 2015
SB 652 – Criminal Record Expungement – Non-Convictions
SB 651 – Criminal Procedure – Expungement – Conviction of a Crime that is No Longer a Crime
JOTF will provide transportation to Annapolis for those wishing to attend the hearing. A bus will depart from Mondawmin Mall at Noon that day. Please register if you wish to travel with us.
For more information, contact Caryn Aslan at 443-692-9424.
JOTF Legislative Priorities
Healthy Working Families Act
SB 40/HB 385
Everyone gets sick and everyone deserves time to recover without risking their economic stability, yet 41 percent of American workers are unable to earn paid sick days. In Maryland, more than 700,000 of our neighbors are forced to make impossible choices:Go to work sick, send an ill child to school or daycare, or stay home and sacrifice much-needed income or, worse, risk job loss. The Working Matters Coalition, of which JOTF is a founding member, supports legislation that would enable workers to earn a limited number of annual paid sick and safe days from their employer.
SB 40 is awaiting a vote in the Senate Finance Committee. HB 385 is awaiting a vote in the House Economic Matters Committee.
Maryland Second Chance Act of 2015
HB 244/SB 526
Jobs are the key to our economic recovery, and the ability to secure a job is crucial to the successful reentry of those returning to society from prison. Research shows that recidivism risks are highest in the first 3-5 years following incarceration.
Given that recidivism declines steadily over time, the proposed legislation would make certain nonviolent misdemeanor convictions eligible for shielding with the filing a petition after a waiting period. Law enforcement will continue to have access to the shielded records.
HB 244 will be heard at 1 p.m. on Feb. 26 in the House Judiciary Committee.
SB 526 will be heard at 1 p.m. on Feb. 19 in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.
To provide oral or written testimony, please contact Caryn Aslan
Criminal Records Expungement –Non-Convictions
HB 304/SB 652
Employers often refuse to hire applicants with criminal records, even if the person was never convicted. Maryland law prohibits the expungement of non-convictions if a person is subsequently convicted of any crime, no matter how minor.
JOTF believes that Marylanders should not be penalized for offenses for which they were never convicted. JOTF supports legislation that would repeal the subsequent conviction rule.
HB 304 will be heard at 1 p.m. on Feb. 26 in the House Judiciary Committee.
SB 652 will be heard at 1 p.m. on Feb. 19 in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.
To provide oral or written testimony, please contact Caryn Aslan.
Criminal Records – Expungement Without Petition
Maryland’s existing laws require a formal petition process and fee to expunge eligible criminal records. This process is cumbersome and presents significant barriers for job seekers.
Many employers refuse to hire applicants with any criminal record, even if the potential employee was acquitted or their case was dismissed. JOTF supports legislation that would establish the immediate expungement of nolle prosequi and dismissal charges after three years.
“Expungement should be automatic” video
Criminal Procedure-Expungement – Conviction of a Crime that is No Longer a Crime
SB 651/HB 124
This legislation would allow a person
to petition for expungement of criminal
records for crimes that are no longer considered illegal.
SB 651 will be heard at 1 p.m. on Feb. 19 in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.
HB 124 will be heard at 1 p.m. on Feb. 24 in the House Judiciary Committee.
Low-cost Auto Insurance: Task Force to Study Methods to Reduce the Rate of Uninsured Drivers
Mobility is a important for working families, yet the insurance industry practice of territorial rating — setting premiums based on the statistical likelihood of accidents and claims by residents of a given area — means that urban drivers pay considerably more for car insurance than other Maryland residents.
In 2014 the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation to establish the Task Force to Study Methods to Reduce the Rate of Uninsured Drivers. This year we will closely monitor any legislation introduced as a result of the Task Force’s recommendations.
*During the 2015 state legislative session, JOTF will also closely monitor the budget process and be prepared to act should harmful cuts arise in the areas of post-secondary access, adult education, and workforce development.
JOTF Legislative Watch List
Bills featured in the watch list are tracked by our policy experts, but their appearance here does not necessarily indicate JOTF support.
Baltimore City Community College – Tuition Waivers: Graduates of Baltimore City Public High Schools
SB 131 would exempt eligible Baltimore City public high school graduates from tuition payments at Baltimore City Community College.
SB 131 is awaiting a vote in the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee.
University System of Maryland Pay It Forward Pilot Program and Tuition Freeze – Studies
HB 57/SB 237
This legislation would require the University System of Maryland Board of Regents study the creation of Pay It Forward tuition programs which create payment plans based on a percentage of a graduate’s salary after graduation.
JOTF believes this model may ultimately make college less affordable for low-income populations who currently rely on financial aid.
HB 57 is awaiting a vote in the House Appropriations Committee
SB 237 will be heard at 1 p.m. on Feb. 18 in the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee.
Human Services – No Wrong Door Pilot Program
This legislation will establish a program to ensure low-income Marylanders have access to services to sustain themselves and their families.
It aims to close gaps in services, increase access to state resources, provide more access for under-served populations and foster better coordination between public and private service providers.
HB 66 is awaiting a vote from the House Appropriations Committee
Maryland Wage & Hour Law – State Minimum Wage – Increase
The legislation would increase the state minimum wage to $10.10 hour beginning July 1, 2015.
HB 4 will be heard at 1 p.m. on Feb. 17 in the House Economic Matters Committee.
State Minimum Wage Rate – Exceptions – Social Service Nonprofit Organizations
This bill would authorize nonprofit organizations that provide social services and have a budget less than $250,000 to pay 85 percent of the state minimum wage.
SB 3 is awaiting a hearing in the Senate Finance Committee
Criminal Procedure – Shielding – Misdemeanor Convictions
This legislation would allow Marylanders to request that certain court and police records for certain misdemeanor convictions be shielded from the public record.
SB 130 will be heard at 1 p.m.on Feb. 19 in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee
Criminal Procedure – Expungement – Misdemeanor & Felony Convictions
The proposed legislation would
expand the crimes eligible for expungement to include certain misdemeanors and nonviolent
felonies. Applicable crimes
could be expunged after seven and 12 years, respectively.
SB 16 will be heard at 1 p.m. on Feb. 19 in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee
Equal Pay for Equal Work
SB 424/HB 1051
This bill would prohibit employers from providing “less-favorable” working opportunities based on a worker’s sex or gender identity. The measure also would prevent an employer from taking action against a worker for disclosure or discussion of wages.
SB 424 will be heard at 1 p.m. on March 5 in the Senate Finance Committee.
HB 1051 will be heard at 1 p.m. on March 10 in the House Economic Matters Committee.
Fiscal Notes – Criminal Justice Policy Impact Statements
SB 478/HB 678
The bill would require future legislation to include a criminal justice policy impact statement if it creates a criminal offense, significantly alters the elements of an existing offense, alters existing penalties or changes sentencing, parole or probation procedures.
SB 478 is before the Senate Rules Committee
HB 678 is before the House Rules and Executive Nominations Committee
Prevailing Wage – Payment for Apprenticeship Programs
This legislation would require contractors and subcontractors with public work contracts to pay the full cost of apprenticeship programs for each apprentice that works on the contract.
HB 370 is awaiting a hearing in the House Economic Matters Committee
Justice Reinvestment Initiative
JOTF is a member of the Maryland Alliance for JusticeReform, a bi-partisan, statewide coalition seeking legislative solutions to the collateral consequences that result from mass incarceration policies in Maryland.
One of MAJR’s legislative solutions is a statewide Justice Reinvestment Initiative proposal that would reinvest savings from reduced incarceration to increase job training and educational opportunities for those who are incarcerated, and identify and review policies that restrict license and certification opportunities due to a criminal record.
The proposal would also require court officials to advise defendants of the collateral consequences associated with a guilty plea.